A channel extender is a device used with IBM's S/390 line of computers to increase the maximum communication distances between the S/390 channel-connected mainframe computers, or between an S/390 and peripheral devices such as workstations, printers, and storage devices. As a rule, optical fiber channel connections transmit over multimode fiber, which sends data over multiple paths within the fiber for distances less than two miles. Channel extenders transmit over single mode fiber, which sends data over a single path for distances of up to - and sometimes greater than - eighteen miles. Because the channel extender increases the distance of possible connections, a channel-connected network may be able to operate with fewer S/390 computers.
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